Category Archives: Tenafly

Crappy real estate photos kill home values

By coincidence, I was just writing a blog post about the lack of quality photos that suburban realtors show on their web sites, when a realtor friend of mine in Tenafly sent a mass email looking for a way to reuse his listing photos for a virtual tour, which I assume would be part of his online listing.

Selling your home for its highest value is all about marketing and creating a love connection with buyers.  It’s all about the visual experience and creating that WOW  MOMENT!

My question to him is…why would you want to reuse the same exact photos in a virtual tour, that you’re already being use on the same listing page for the typical slideshow? Because it’s cheaper to reuse the photos?

Which photos are more appealing?

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[The 3 darker photos are of homes for sale (maybe in Tenafly) and were copied from the njmls…and the 3 better photos were enhanced in less than 60 seconds using Apple’s iPhoto ]

Listing photos play an important role in creating a  love connection between your home and  potential home buyers…and agents. If you take the time to create something beautiful to look at,  you’ll grab someones attention.

Great looking photos will increase the value of your home by possibly tens of thousands of dollars…or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Crappy looking photos will destroy your price

  • First, presenting the same exact photos in a different slide show, on the SAME online page has no added value
  • Second, consumers are smart enough to see when someone’s snookering them.  It’s not a “virtual tour” when you stitch a few photos together and set them in motion.  And considering that we can create something far more exciting on our Apple computer or iPhone using iPhoto in just a few minutes,  today’s buyers won’t be impressed with your typical virtual tour.

Consumers are turned-off by low quality presentations and poorly lit and un-staged room photos.  They expect to see something far sexier than they’re subjected to.

If realtors can’t do better than consumers can on their own, how does that make the realtor look?  Not so good!

Realtors love to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s true.  However, when the picture looks crappy then it’s worth a thousand negative words.

Buyers don’t get excited viewing crappy looking photos

Awesome looking high resolution photos create excitement and passion. They can also create a memorable impression that keep your listing at the top of someone’s hot list.  And for marketing, a great shot can get someone to take an action…like calling the agent!

Look at the listing photos on some of the great brokerage sites in New York City like Cororan (their enlarged photos are amazing!), Town and CORE (CORE is my favorite)…and then look at any of the lisiting sites in our area.  There’s a HUGE difference in quality…IT SHOWS! These sites and their photography blows away anything that I’ve seen in suburban real estate marketing.

Crappy looking listing photos will decrease the sales price of a home by thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars…and it will create a longer sales process…which means lower prices.

How about something a little different from the typical realtor shot.  Instagram-like photos have become part of our culture. Why not use it to your advantage.



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Sellers and buyers deserve the best quality photos from realtors…anything less should be unacceptable.

[The top photo was taken on my iPhone 5 and then enhanced twice in less than 90 seconds using the app Snapseed]

If agents can’t at the least produce listing photos that are staged and look professionally photographed (enhanced on Photoshop, iPhoto, Aperture or using any of the hundred other photo enhancing programs), then the agent isn’t worth hiring.
If you agent doesn’t care what your home looks like online, then then they won’t care how long it takes to sell your home, and  they won’t care  what it sells for.
The answer to my friend is…
•    Take your own photos and enhance them on the computer or their iPhone, because they’ll look better than what they have been providing.
•    You can purchase a fantastic camera for under $250
•    There are some great photo enhancing apps that are free


Disclaimer:  Steven Konefsky is a home builder and does renovations, real estate developer, design consultant, real estate marketing guru, and he sells real estate through Promiment Properties Sotheby’s International in Tenafly NJ, and he sells homes for higher prices than anyone.  If you have any real estate related or marketing questions you can make comments on this blog or Steven can be reached at 201.522.5256 and at  FaceTime and Skype video conversations are welcomed 🙂


Homes for sale in tenafly are at critical stage

It’s a fact that the housing market in Tenafly is doing great.  Homes are selling at a brisk rate, though most are under-priced so they should sell fast. However…

  • Is the market doing great in all price ranges?
  • Are all homes selling fast?
  • Are all homes selling for their optimum price?

This is something you can’t possibly figure out without understanding the facts.

Tenafly homes for sale and to enlarge chart
Tenafly homes for sale and sold…click to enlarge chart


Here’s some quick facts about the homes that are presently for sale in Tenafly, and have been sold over the past few years.

  • The market for homes for sale in Tenafly has been incredibly active for homes priced below $1 million

However as you can see by the last 2 items in each price range (2014 sold to date & 2014 homes for sale), the numbers don’t look so great, because the inventory for the number of homes for sale has greatly diminished.

  • Below $500k there are only 3 homes for sale
  • From $500-799k there is only 18 homes for sale…and most of those homes are outdated and are in dire need of major home renovations
  • $800-999k there ore only 16 homes for sale

In the near future  there will be no homes in Tenafly that are worth less than $500k

More facts:

  • in 2013 there was a approx a 50% decrease in the number of home sold in Tenafly below $500k,  because of a lack of inventory…and this slow pace will continue well into the future until there are no homes in this price range
  • The same holds true for homes priced between $500-799k.  A dwindling supply will cause prices to rise
  • Homes priced between $800-999k will move up into the next price bracket

This may seem like a lot of homes are for sale, but compared to the number of homes that have sold in Tenafly in the past several years, there aren’t nearly enough homes for sale to fill the demand.

How does this affect home sales in Tenafly and in the surrounding towns?

  • Will potential home buyers who are mostly interested in Tenafly move up to the next price range…which puts an even greater premium on homes in the lower price range
  • Or will they seriously consider buying a home in one of the surrounding towns…which also creates higher prices for those towns because of their demand
  • will the next price level increase in value because of this new  demand?

The answer is yes to everything.

The demand is so great for homes priced below $1 million, and these homes are worth more because of it…even for the wort homes in that price range.

All of these homes will need to be renovated or retrofitted to meet today’s lifestyle needs.

Over the next few weeks, Steven will begin a video series containing: market updates, how to market your home to attract buyers and how to sell your home faster and for a higher price, how to buy the right home and how to go about the renovation process with the least amount of headaches…and whatever else comes to mind.  Oh, I’m also going to do a video series where I rate the homes for sale. This will all be done  from the consumers POV.  It’s going to be fun!

As you can see from the chart 2011-2013 were great years for home sales below $1 million…it would have even been better if there was enough inventory for all of the people who wanted homes in this price range.  Cresskill and Closter should be happy for getting the spillover sales from Tenafly.

Advice: Run from every realtor who preaches “price it right”, because your home is worth more than they think it’s worth.  They don’t understand these facts (unless they’re reading this blog) and so many homes were listed and sold for far less than they should have been

  • Your home is worth more than it was last year, the year before, the year before…and all the way back to 2007…and by a large percentage.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

In the next few posts I will address the following:

  1. Tenafly home sales priced $1-2 Million
  2. Tenafly’s ultra luxury home market

There’s a lot going on in these price ranges, and it’s not all good news.

As always. let us know what you think.

Disclaimer:  Steven Konefsky is a builder…inc renovations, real estate developer, design consultant, real estate marketing genius, and he sells real estate through Promiment Properties Sotheby’s International in Tenafly NJ.  If you have any real estate related questions you can make comments on this blog or Steven can be reached at 201.522.5256 and at

Sexy bathroom ideas for Tenafly renovations

As with almost every home that is for sale in Tenafly and elsewhere in Easter Bergen County, buyers have to approach the purchase with the understanding that they’re going to have to spend additional money to renovate the home.  You can’t possibly purchase a 30-100 without it needing a major makeover.

Here’s a sexy bathroom design that I came across recently that would be a great look for any home needing a bathroom renovation.

Sleek yet elegant, modern yet timeless.

Bathrooms are where to spend your money…and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get this look…but even if you did it’s worth the investment

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The color combinations and elements make this an invigorating place to start your day and to leave you with a relaxing feeling at the end of the night.

I can almost sense the spa-like fragrance when looking at these photos

  • the  color combination of the dark wood vanity and mirror surround and green glass long subway tiles is a great match.  And even though I’m no longer a fan of beige tiles I’m sure it looks great on the floor
  • The full height glass showers with the chrome hinges and super long door handle adds a modern and strong feel
  • I love the 5′ + high frosted glass to add a bit of privacy
  • the extra thick counter tops with integrated deep sinks and modern faucets is a great look to top off the sleek vanity that sits off of the floor about 18″…which adds to the visual depth of the room
  • The pin lighting in the ceiling is a great look compared to the standard, and over abused typical high hat lighting

This design and materials can be integrated into any sized  bathroom renovation for a great look.

Tell us what you think


Turn a boring powder room into an exciting space

If you were looking to buy a home in Tenafly, and came across this powder room, tell me you wouldn’t be excited to see the rest of the home, and that it wouldn’t jump to the top of your hot list.

This is how to turn boring into excitement!

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Did you ever imagine taking your typically small, boring suburban powder room into an exciting and energy filled space?  If you ever dreamed it, but didn’t quite know where to start…here’s a great example of what you can do, to infuse this small space with some excitement.

Forget about doing what everyone else does in Tenafly, Cresskill, or in Alpine. This is how to start thinking outside the box, and how to bring a splash of Manhattan to you home.

Don’t chintz on anything that has to do with tile…or you’ll regret it later

Though this space is 10′ high with a drop sheetrocked ceiling, with hidden up-lighting, you can get the same effect in a room with an 8′-9′ high ceiling.  This is a design that can easily be scaled down to fit your space perfectly.

Check out the flooring, wall tiles, lighting vanity and the almost full height mirror and see how they “put it all together”.  And check out the walls and tell me how you think they created this affect.  What materials did they use?  And think how you can do the same in your powder room.

Remember, when working with small spaces, it’s all about the total package, and not the individual pieces.

Tell us what you think

Steven Konefsky creates excitement from ordinary space.  Steven’s out of the box design vision lets the energy flow in every room of your home.  He transforms space into a lifestyle that you’ve always wanted, but never knew how to accomplish it. Your home will stand out from the crowd.
When selling an older or tired home, Steven’s vision along with his amazing sales and presentation talents, can take what others can’t imagine (but fear), and presents your home’s potential like no one else can.  His skills create faster sales, and higher prices.  When your best marketing effort is a lawn sin, and a free web listing…you have a problem.  Let Steven put more money where it belongs…in your pocket! 
From design passion to building…let Steven show you how it’s done. 



Nature while building-Tenafly NJ

The beauty of renovating and building homes in the New Jersey suburbs…Tenafly.

Just 20 yards away and within minutes of one another

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Bergen County Luxury Home Market On Life Support

So many luxury homes for sale & not many sold = PROBLEMS

Luxury Home For Sale Cresskill, New Jersey

The luxury market may be flying high in Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City where luxury apartments are selling for insane prices, but out here in the suburbs of Bergen County, which used to be the hotbed for  the luxury market in New Jersey, on its death bed…as it has been since the market crashed



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Here’s some facts:

  • Only 23 homes priced above $3 million have sold to date in 2013
  • The 5 most expensive homes sold: $13,375,000…$10, 500,000…$6,375,000…$5,500,000…$5,125,000…
  • Only 5 homes were sold in 2013 priced above $5 million
  • There are 95 single family homes listed for sale priced above $3 million
  • The most expensive home for sale in Bergen County is the “Gloria Crest Estate” in Englewood that is listed for $29,900,000. Guess they wanted to keep it under $30 million.  The home was originally listed for $39 million…and it was purchased in 20000 for $4,672,500.  Unfortunately the agents pictures don’t do this home justice…2 yr old picts taken in an off season doesn’t help the sales effort
  • There are 30 homes for sale priced above $5 million
  • The 5 most expensive homes for sale are $29,900,000…14,500,000…$14,000,000

Though there is a sizable percentage increase (90%) in sales for this price range, the number of homes sold (a 9 home increase…most in the $3M range) is insignificant compared to the number of homes that are for sale…95 homes

Towns with the most luxury homes for sale priced above $3 million:

  • Alpine…25 homes for sale
  • Saddle River…19
  • Cresskill…11
  • Franklin Lakes…8
  • Tenafly…8
  • Demarest…11

As with everything on this site, we let the numbers speak for themselves.  The luxury market is deader than dead, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

Tell us what you think the future is for these ultra luxury homes


Time to raise home prices in Tenafly…and elsewhere in Bergen County

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Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 1.21.06 PMFinally with a booming housing market, why aren’t realtors and homeowners adjusting their prices upward to take advantage of the huge dollar increases that we’re witnessing.  There should be no doubt that  we are in a full scale sellers market

Time and again, I come across listings of homers for sale in Tenafly and other towns, that are under-priced given our current market conditions.  And because of these miscalculations, homeowners miss out selling their homes for the highest price possible, as the market continues a full court press upward. With a vast majority of the price points skyrocketing, why wouldn’t homeowners…and agents take advantage of something that we have waited for, for many years.  Sellers and realtors should be dancing in the street!

The days of undervaluing homes to create sales is over.  A sellers market has finally arrived.

Here’s the facts to back it up:

  • More homes have been sold in Bergen County in 2013…at higher prices and with higher interest rates, than at any other time since the market crashed
  • Lower prices didn”t create more sales.  Higher prices created more home sales
  • Higher prices and an improving market and economy, enable people to buy with confidence…confidence creates demand and confidence creates higher prices

I know this is contrary to what realtors think…but selling homes isn’t all about price.  It’s time for realtors to stop using old sales data to calculate prices in a great market.  It’s no lomnger right to say…”this is what homes sold for in the past”.  It’s time to say…this is what your home should sell for now…because our market is the best it’s been in the past 5 years

Here’s why I’m excited for the Tenafly real estate market, and surrounding towns !!!

  • Home sales increased in Tenafly by an additional 9% y/y
  • More homes have been sold in Tenafly than in Alpine, Closter, Cresslill, Demarest, Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, Haworth and Norwood…and by a wide margin in most of the towns
  • The dollar sales volume for all Tenafly sales blows away the other towns by a huge margin…the closest town is Englewood, and their dollar sales volume is almost 50% less than Tenafly
  • Home sales in Tenafly represent 23% of all sales for the above mentioned towns
  • Of these towns Tenafly ranks #3 for the highest average sales price…but when you consider that the sales volume is much higher in Tenafly, this isn’t a negative
  • Sales increased 78% in Tenafly for homes priced between $1m-$1.5m
  • Home sales priced under $500k decreased by 59%…1/ because there’s only a few homes for sale in this price range, 2/ prices have increased in Tenafly at the lower end and what was $500k is now worth 20% more.  That’s great news!

I’ve been saying it for two years , and I’ll say it again:  It’s time for sellers and realtors to take advantage of the recovering market, and start raising  prices.  Sellers are still leaving way too much money on the table.  Buyers are out there, and the demand is high



The Town Sales Comparison chart (green/white) shows insanely high increases in the dollar volume for home sales…which means increasing prices.  Percentage increases of 52%, 33%, 37%, 86%, 21%, 49%, and 29% were though to be impossible to attain are being reached.  The only town to lose on this is Demarest, where the dollar volume declined 25%.

Bergen County:

Bergen County sales are on a roll…skyrocketing sales and dollar volumes:

  • Single family home sales are up 19%…an increase of 712 home sales
  • Dollar volume for homes sold increased by 25%…a $524 million increase
  • Multi-family home sales increased by 24%…a 395 unit increase
  • And the multi-family dollar increased 29%…a $170 million increase

As per the blue table, the Bergen County housing market (both single and multi family home sales) may have its best year since our market crashed in 2007.  In some towns prices are back to where they were pre-crash (for homes prices below $1.5 million).

The proof is in the numbers…sellers in every town should be increasing their prices…EXCEPT…if your home is prices above $3.0 million.  This price point is a disaster all throughout Bergen County…but that’s a discussion for a future post.

Though we’re still far behind the sales pace of 2001-2006, we now have a healthy market.  This sales volume is the new norm, and that’s fine, so long as prices remain at a high level.

You no longer have to buy into the “price it right” mentality…it’s time to price it high!  It’s time to go for it!

But there’s a warning with this:

With a sever increase in new multi-family rental projects that are coming into the marketplace beginning now, AND with less new for sale homes being built, because builders are being cautious, north Jersey home sales will be greatly effected…downward.  Rental projects like those currently being built in Fort Lee (1,500+ rentals), will put a huge dent in future home sales.  This makes your time frame for selling at higher prices limited to the next 2 years.

In a recent post on…NJ homebuilding up 39 percent over 2012 pace by Kathleen Lynn…Ms Lynnn points out:

Through August, builders took out 15,842 building permits, compared with 11,364 in the same period last year. Multifamily construction accounted for about 59 percent of the activity

Let’s not get confused with reality.  Multi-family construction is not the same as “homebuilding” ,when you’re talking sales and home construction figures.

  • Multi-family rentals are competition for single family home sales, because they take away from single family home sales
  • The industry considers “home building” to be single family fore sale homes
  • To combine the two types of “housing” creates misleading and inaccurate stats

“People are becoming renters by choice,” said BNE Executive Vice President Jonathan Schwartz. “People want to be closer to the city, nearer commuter areas.” And many households are wary of buying a single-family home after seeing property values plummet during the housing bust, he said

BNE should know this because their project in Fort Lee was originally slated to be a for sale building.  The only changed it over to rentals beacuse the for sale condo market still hasn’t recovered

As always. let us know what you think


The art of selling homes for less #1

A new segment for Eating Real Estate, is to highlight for sellers the many ways that most realtors market homes homes so they sell for less than they should sell for.  The Art Of Selling Homes For Less will show you how typical real estate marketing works to decrease the value of homes, rather than to increase it.

It’s mediocrity at it’s best.  And it costs sellers a fortune.

If your listing description is anything less than what you would read in Architectural Digest, then your home will take longer to sell and it will sell for less than it should.  And if your photos are anything less than the staged rooms and professional quality that you would see in any home magazine (locally 201 Magazine), then your home won’t stand out from the crowd like it needs to….and WOW someone, then your home will sell for less than it should.

Great marketing creates better results than mediocre marketing.  Guaranteed!

Would you rather see your Tenafly, Cresskill or Englewood New Jersey home marketed to look like something from Sears or Kmart.  Or would you rather have a Neiman’s look?

Which one do you think will help to increase your homes value?

The Art Of Selling Homes For Less #1

What are they trying to tell us in these photos?  From the midget low angle, to the the lack of flash lighting, this room looks yuck!  Looks like the photos were taken using a disposable CVS camera. This makes Kmart furnishings look good.

Would this make you want to rush out and see this home? If not, then what good is it.

Make no mistake about it…this is one of the main reasons why homes sell for less than they should, and why it takes so long to sell them.

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More power outages in Tenafly. An uproar is brewing

So here we are 19 days into July and Tenafly is experiencing what I think is its fourth power outage of the month.

And only today’s an tonight’s outage is heat related.

Late this afternoon I was heading back into Tenafly when I was some blinking traffic lights, which is always a sign of another outage.
I headed up the hill and sure enough the traffic lights at the corner of Engle St and East Clinton Ave were blinking as well, and traffic was building up.

For me, this usually means that my area was out of power, because somehow a portion of my street is tied into te grid that services East Clinton and the downtown…but amazingly I still had power.  That’s a first!

AxiaTonight I was headed to Axia for a late dinner (9PM) and when I got there the lights were out.  For Axia, this too is a common occurence for their business.  I can’t imagine how much money they have lost in the past two years due to all of the outages that Tenafly experiences.

Here’s a video of an NBC News story that ran a few weeks ago, and was part of one of my blog posts about the cost of the outages to Tenafly residents and businesses.

Related Stories

Power Outages In Tenafly Cost Residents Millions

Click to view NBC segment….Random Power Outages Hit NJ Neighborhood…by Brynn Gingras

Power outage in downtown Tenafly; generators used to power traffic lights

It’s time for PSE&G to explain the real problem, and to create fast solution.

In 2011-2012 335 generators were installed in Tenafly.  Pretty soon we can start our own power company.

Why aren’t people who have generators using them, rather than electric to power their homes.  Is it cheaper to do that?


How many times will Tenafly lose power during this heat wave

IMG_5784So Tenafly, and the rest of the region, is into another heat wave this week, with temperatures hovering in the mid to upper 90’s through Saturday.

The only question on the mind of Tenafly residents…who aren’t part of the 335 residents who have generators is…how many power outages will we have and how long will they last. posted a story that the power companies in New Jersey are prepared to handle the heatwave.

Heat wave is here and NJ power companies say they’re prepared

At PSE&G, which serves 2.2 million customers in the state, officials said there are extra workers on hand in case of outages.

“We prepare for summer all year round. During a heat wave it does put a stress on the system, and we just have to make sure we have all available personnel,” said spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

And here’s a comforting thought from JCP&L

A spokesman for First Energy, which owns JCP&L, said demand is expected to go up due to the heat wave, but there should be enough power to meet it. “There is an abudance of power supply within the regional power pool and we’re not expecting any significant issues in meeting customer demand,” said spokesman Scott Surgeoner.

Here’s some advice from the power companies, that should be taken during this heat wave…and beyond:

•    Turn off everything you’re not using: lights, TVs, computers, etc. Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
•    Close blinds, shades and draperies facing the sun to keep the sun’s heat out and help fans and air conditioners cool more efficiently.
•    Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home. With central air, close off vents to unused rooms.
•    Delay heat-producing tasks such as washing and drying laundry or dishes until later in the day, and wait until load is full.
•    Refrain from using nonessential appliances. Unplug or use only when necessary an extra refrigerator in your garage. Also, customers should consider setting their air conditioners to 78 degrees, health permitting.

Let’s all hope for the best.

If you’re having a real problem, then head to the Hampton’s this week where it’s supposed to be a few degrees cooler…and you can hang out with all the movie stars

Let us know if you’re having any power issues this week.